By Paula Duhatschek | CBC News
Advocates for Black families are speaking out after they say police were called to a Catholic elementary school in Kitchener, Ontario Canada, last fall to deal with an incident involving a four-year-old Nigerian.
Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) confirmed that officers attended a Catholic elementary school on Nov. 29, 2021, in response to a report of a student in crisis who was said to be acting violently.
Police said officers attempted to de-escalate the student’s behaviour, contacted a family member, and drove the child home.
Fidelia Ukueje, president of the Nigerian community in the Region of Waterloo, is acting as a spokesperson for the Nigerian family of the student as the mother is too upset to speak to media.
She disputes the account by police and says the student was reportedly acting out — jumping on a desk and running away from a teacher — but was not being violent.
“The school board has failed a four-year-old by criminalizing a child,” said Ukueje. “Nothing justified what the school board did to that child.”
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The Waterloo Catholic District School Board has not confirmed the incident. In response to questions, the board said it had met with the family on Wednesday, but could not comment on the situation because of privacy legislation, per CBC.
Incident part of broader pattern, group says
Charline Grant, a member of the advocacy group Parents of Black Children, also attended Wednesday’s meeting along with members of the Early Childhood Development Initiative. She said she’s been in touch with the family.
She is concerned that this situation speaks to what she says is a broader pattern of Black children being treated more harshly than their peers for normal childish behaviour.